Who is going to become a household name for the KC Chiefs after Super Bowl LV?
Every year and every Super Bowl provides a chance for an unknown or overshadowed player to take center stage. Will there be a Timmy Smith or Larry Brown this year? What and who could those players be?
Often it’s the player in a position to contribute and just has a career day. We take a look at a few names that, while the Kansas City Chiefs fans know full well their names, by the drop of confetti on Super Bowl Sunday, the entire country will be speaking their name.
L’Jarius Sneed, Cornerback
No player is in a position to go from nationally unknown to universally recognized quite like L’Jarius Sneed, the Chiefs rookie corner. The top cover corner on the team, Sneed is the player in a position to create and contribute both in run defense and in the passing game. Brady has shown a willingness to put the ball in harm’s way, as the Buccaneers continued to give opportunity after opportunity to the Packers during the NFC Championship game.
If Brady makes a couple of poor throws, could Sneed be in a position at the end of the game with a couple of forced turnovers, tackles, and does he translate a turnover into points? If there is a player we are not looking for to make ‘that play’ during the game, it could very well be the player that has been making big plays for the team all season.
Regardless, Sneed’s return from a concussion and a full clearing of health is vital for the defense and he likely will find himself in a position to contribute and make plays early and often against the Buccaneers.
Darrel Williams, Running Back
Much like last year when many believe the MVP of the Super Bowl should have been Damien Williams at running back, the other Williams, Darrel, has the opportunity to put his name in lights with a big game. With the sports world focused on the right arm of Patrick Mahomes and the Buccaneers pass rush, Darrel Williams is in a position to contribute both in the passing and running game.
If the Chiefs rushing attack gets going and the Buccaneers look to stop the Chiefs’ offense in the same way the Bills did back during the regular season, Williams — along with Clyde Edwards-Helaire — will have an opportunity to get yardage.
What could work for Williams as a short-yardage back is the opportunity to get touchdowns as well as rack up both rushing and receiving stats out of the backfield. Combine a couple of good pass-catching plays and stats in the run game and at the end of the night, Williams could find his name in lights, perhaps on his way to Disney World as an MVP
Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver
Mecole Hardman is in an interesting spot as a dark horse candidate to be a major factor in the Super Bowl. The second-year player can have his Desmond Howard moment, return a kickoff for a touchdown and make a highlight play or two in the passing game, a long touchdown perhaps, and all of a sudden, the Georgia product is in the discussion for MVP.
MVP’s are most often quarterbacks because, beyond being the most important position on the field, they touch the ball the most. Well, Hardman can make plays (good and bad, as we’ve seen) on special teams and on offense both rushing and receiving. All it takes are a few big plays and there Hardman is in lights.
Of course, Hardman has to be in that position. Will he return kickoffs? What about punts? With the focus on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in the passing game, could Hardman find favorable matchups in coverage, allowing for his opportunity to have his moment on Super Bowl Sunday?
Harrison Butker, Kicker
Kickers rarely earn Super Bowl awards and this is likely no different. However, if the Chiefs are forced to kick a lot of field goals due to red zone issues or concerns about the offensive line prove to be problematic, the opportunity for Harrison Butker to become a story is present at the Super Bowl.
This is a unique situation, as Butker has kicked and hit from long range all season yet struggled with extra points. The situation could present itself for Butker to kick a long field goal in the waning moments of the game that could swing the outcome, and if/when that happens, Butker could certainly make a name for himself and be a guest on the late-night show circuit.
Obviously, it’s never ideal when the story of the game for a team is their kicker. Perhaps that’s because when that happens, it’s usually Scott Norwood type moments, as opposed to Adam Viniateri type situations. But make no mistake, Butker has the opportunity for both sides of the memory ledger.